The late Reverend William Franklin “Billy” Graham, Jr. was honored at the US Capitol on Thursday with a new statue recognizing his lasting legacy of serving Christ and providing a message of hope to millions. 

Known as America’s pastor, Rev. Graham spread his faith and the gospel while embodying authenticity and humility. From Charlotte, North Carolina, Graham was described as a trailblazer who counseled many of America’s leaders in their faith, but he transcended partisan politics. 

Members of the Graham family, former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina’s elected officials, including North Carolina Senators Thom Tillis and Ted Budd, alongside the entire North Carolina congressional delegation, attended the unveiling ceremony and applauded the dedication of a statue in the U.S. Capitol in honor of the Rev. Graham.

“Reverend Billy Graham will always be remembered as North Carolina’s Favorite Son,” said Rep. Richard Hudson, R–9. “He was God’s faithful servant, dedicating his life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His simple message of grace and forgiveness provided hope to countless people around the world. May his legacy inspire visitors to the U.S. Capitol forever.”

Every state is represented by two statues throughout the Capitol complex. Following Graham’s death in 2018, Gov. Cooper called on the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve North Carolina’s 2015 request to replace the statue of Gov. Charles Aycock.

Graham’s memory will live on with the 7-foot bronze statue depicting him holding an open Bible. The sculpture, created by Chas Fagan of Charlotte, features Bible verses along the base. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R–LA, noted the providential placement of the statue right next to the main walkway that connects to the Capitol Rotunda. The side clearly displays John 3:16 for all visitors to see during tours of the US Capitol.

He holds an open Bible and, with an open right hand, invites all those to view and reflect upon the Word of God. His Bible is open specifically to Galatians 6:14, which was heavily marked up in Graham’s own Bible:

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” 

“This is the verse Reverend Graham put on the banner of his life,” said Speaker Johnson. “He exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve. What a model for us, what a story to tell as we bring school kids through, and university students and constituents will stop right here. I’ll be stopping right here every time to tell some of these stories.”

Graham joins Rosa Parks and Presidents Ford and Ronald Reagan in receiving the nation’s highest honors; the honors include a congressional gold medal, lying in state in the US Capitol upon passing, and remembered with a statue in the Capitol. 

Franklin Graham, the reverend’s son, said his father would have felt uneasy with the ceremony and special recognition because he would want the focus to be on the Lord.

“My father would be a little uncomfortable with this, this being here, because he would want the focus to be on the one that he preached a lot, the focus to be on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” said Franklin Graham. “He believed the Bible – cover to cover. He didn’t understand it all, but he certainly believed it all. Every word of it. Our family is honored that our earthly father will be here in this Capitol to point future generations to our Heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”